Giving your garden – however small – a complete transformation is a demanding, time-consuming job, and one best left to the professionals. To make sure you get a great result, you’ll want to hire a landscape gardener. But unless you know one already, landscape gardeners aren’t especially easy to find. This step-by-step guide will help you find a gardener in your area and decide whether they’re a good fit for you.
Draw Up a Shortlist
First, locate your gardener. In the internet age it’s not that hard to build up a list of sole traders and companies specialising in landscape gardening, but it can be tricky to separate the good from the bad. So it’s not the best idea just to contact the names you find through search engine results pages. The most reliable method is to ask any of your friends who’ve used similar services: not only do you get the contact, but you’re pre-briefed with everything you need to know to decide whether this gardener is a good fit for you.
If you can’t get a word-of-mouth recommendation, your next best port of call is a recommendation from any local college that runs landscaping or horticultural courses. Of course, if you live in the middle of an urban area this might be tricky, in which case you’ll probably need to resort to the internet. But some review websites – featuring customer feedback – such as MyBuilder.com, also include landscape gardeners.
Check Qualifications and Experience
In the UK it’s not necessary for landscape gardeners to be formally qualified, and indeed some of the best have received an entirely work-based training. But the gardener you employ should have appropriate experience of the kind of job you’re asking them to do.
Don’t be shy about enquiring into their portfolio, and always check out references from previous customers yourself. After all, it’s easy for the really unscrupulous operator to forge recommendations. If possible, arrange to visit gardens they’ve previously completed and discuss their work with the owners.
Make Sure They Respect Your Budget
If a landscape gardener tries to talk you into spending a lot more than you’ve budgeted for, it’s a good sign they’re not the right fit for you. Of course it also helps to know that your budget is reasonable before you start making contact with gardeners. Websites such as whatprice.co.uk can help you arrive at a rough costing for your work or project, although you’ll almost certainly pay more for gardeners with qualifications or special skills.
Ask for Evidence of Insurance
This is an important point. Public Liability Insurance is a guarantee that if any damage occurs to your property – or someone else’s – as a result of the work you’re having done, there’s a source of funding in place to meet the costs. It’s so important that you should always check for yourself that the gardener you’re thinking of hiring is covered. Ask to see their insurance certificate.
Are You Happy to Work With This Person?
All else being equal, one of the best indicators of whether your choice of gardener is right for the job is the quality of the relationship between you. Even the most meticulously planned projects have problems, and when you hit a bump in the road it’s important to know that you can talk things over with your gardener in a calm and professional manner. Plus, you’ll be seeing a lot of this person if you hire them: they’ll be around your home for weeks (months if you’re planning a major project) so it’s important to have established a good rapport.
Do You Share Their Taste?
Even if your gardener of choice is a friendly, highly qualified, well-vouched-for professional, if you don’t like their aesthetic leanings you’re not going to love their work. As an absolute minimum it’s essential to check out photographs of their completed projects, just to make sure your respective tastes are sympathetic. A better solution is to visit their former clients and experience the end result for yourself, a request any competent professional would be happy to satisfy.
Landscaping your garden isn’t something you have to do regularly. You’ll live with the results for quite a while, so you need to choose the right professional for the job. But by using the guiding principles above to inform your choice of gardener you’ll be one step closer to creating the garden of your dreams.
For more garden advice, get in touch with Multifold doors today.